Living With Grief

An Open Letter

Inexplicable (adjective): Unable to be explained or accounted for

Dear several good people,

On my stronger days, I tell myself that you surprised me. On gentle days, I ponder how you disappointed me. On the harshest ones, I feel you betrayed me.

One day, we might sit down and you might choose to explain why you did or didn’t do, some of the things, which have completely baffled me, since my third baby died. When you speak, from your point of view and outline the assumptions you made, around the loss of my child, it will – no doubt – make some sense, but it will not be ok. I’m not sure I will ever be able to look you in the eye and say that it is ok. I may remain quiet, I may say that I understand, I may accept that there were perhaps crossed wires, misunderstandings, but I will never agree with your course of (in)action.

You are a good person, which makes it all the more inexplicable. Perhaps this has hurt you, as much as this hurts us, though I can’t fathom how that could possibly be true. The simple truth is, if everyone had treated us, they way that you did (and continue to), we would be completely alone, our babies entirely forgotten. No matter what you think of me now, you know I’m not deserving of that.

The bruth is, it wasn’t enough. None of it. My expectations were high, your execution: far, far lower. You chose silence. Time and time again. You read (or did not read) and still you did not learn (or showed you care). Perhaps you’re a voyeur? Perhaps you’ve read every one of my words? I have no idea. Thinking of someone is not the same as speaking to them. Speaking about them, is not the same as listening to them. Though I must concede, I too am guilty of the latter. Except, how could I have lent you my ears, if you were never there to receive them?

And so, here’s what it boils down to: I just can’t do life with you at the moment. You bore witness to the easier chapters of our life. Nearly ten years ago, you witnessed our marriage, you acknowledged the event, you were part of our important day, but you could not bring yourself to do the same for the death of our child. When asked if you would support us in our married life,  you cheered “we will” and we did the same for you. We all were too eager, none of us true. For there are two sides to every story, and this, is mine.

You disappeared when you were needed. And now? Now some value and appreciation is eroded, on all sides. Mutual disrespect.

Maybe one day, in time, we can try again. One day, when I do or do not, go on to have a family. But by then, your children will be grown. We will have lost that time, become strangers, though strangely familiar too. But by then, you will bear your own legitimate grudge and ironically, next time, it will be because of my treatment of your children. My decision to extricate myself, to no longer bear witness to their little lives. Interesting: that is something I will have to sit with. I am willing to give it up, to spare myself the ongoing upset from my changed relationship with you, with my ego reminding me, that how I was before, was entirely taken for granted. But in doing so, am I willing to intentionally make myself a hypocrite?

But right now, when we are still in the thick of it, I can’t pretend that we are not. Because your choice has been to gloss over this period – something I cannot and will not do – you and I cannot discuss the most important things to us and so, let’s push pause. I release you from the relationship, but more importantly, I release myself. I no longer expect you to bear witness to our lives, or me to yours. In most instances, it is better late, than never. But in this one, the shock still runs deep. Whichever way I look at it, she died and you made it all the harder.

One day, perhaps you’ll want to slot back in, perhaps I’ll even want you to. For there may come a time, when I carry them differently, when I have to let go of the past, the grudge, and make way for new beginnings. Then, the glossing over which came so naturally to you, may prove less painful to me. When we glance back then, we may all forgive, though we will never forget.

I’m sorry if you feel I gave up on us easily, that your worth to me was disposable. That’s really not been my intention, because honestly, I know how that feels. Instead, I hope it comforts you to know that it’s easy for me to walk away from things now, everything. Because when you’ve lost what you’ve truly loved, everything and everyone pales in comparison.

So please do not reply to this message, because when life is happier, you’ll know. And we will see if we’re all willing to try again. But for now, a sabbatical is required, paid for with your understanding, almost wholly for my peace of mind.

I wish you all the best, as I (bizarrely) know, you do for us too.

From, Anjulie

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(1) Comment

  1. Melanie says:

    I am just so sorry. I wish there was something I could say to make up for how I have failed you and made you feel. Your writing has brought me to tears. How could I ever make my friend feel this way?! But I will leave you alone now, as you wish. Please know the door is always open for you to step back into our friendship. Xxx

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